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Dinner Tonight: Cornmeal-Crusted Pan-Fried Trout

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

I've been daydreaming lately about going on a fishing trip, the kind of wilderness escape where my main concern for the day is sunshine, adequate cold beer, and hooking enough fish to feed me dinner. So maybe that's why I was drawn immediately to this recipe in New Classic Familiy Dinners, a cookbook by Los Angeles cooking legend Mark Peel. It is the absolute perfect recipe for sleepin' on the riverbank and cooking up the freshest river trout known to man: simple, manly, delicious.

The idea here is to use a fine cornmeal that will adequately coat the fish and give it a golden crunch on the outside. Doing so negates the need to dredge the fish in egg before dusting with cornmeal. Trout is ideal for its sweet, mild flesh, but any white fish ought to work well as long as it's not too thick (the cornmeal crust is then in danger of burning). As instructed, I used a heavy cast iron skillet, which seemed like the right tool for the job both practically and aesthetically. But I'm sure a nonstick skillet would also do the trick.

Cornmeal-Crusted Pan-Fried Trout

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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